After punk exploded in the late ’70s, this infamous Gerrard Street new-wave mecca kept the fire burning into the ’80s—even if its many famous performers were in danger of getting doused by the overflowing upstairs toilets leaking onto the stage.
[We nurtured a lot of local groups who got signed from playing regularly at The Edge and from being promoted the same ways we would promote The Police or whoever,” says Topp.
He namechecks more than a dozen Toronto acts of the time, including The Mods, Drastic Measures, The Sharks, The Curse, Spoons, Battered Wives, The Demics, The Dishes, Johnny and the G-Rays, Blue Peter, and The B-Girls.]
Opening for The Police at the 1983 Police Picnic.
Lineup: The Police, Peter Tosh, James Brown, King Sunny Adé,and The Fixx
These photos were from a film that had been lying around undeveloped for 30 years!
Thanks to Mark MacDonald for mailing them to us!
In our recurring feature Wha’ Happen?, we find out what happened to those Toronto artists that were all over local airwaves and MuchMusic during the ’80s and ’90s, but are less visible today.
Blue Peter's promising push
By Michael Hollett
May 26-June 1, 1983
Blue Peter burst on the Toronto music scene back in 1978 with a confident swagger and unique sound that wouldn't be denied. But it was, and now, five years later, Blue Peter has learned to function as a band whose potential has yet to be matched by their success.
Because of the initial publicity the band attracted, hopes were high and a lot was looked for from a band whose members were all in their teens. As a result, the band has done much of its development under the steely-eyed stare of an expectant public. And to some, this has meant Blue Peter has been viewed as a band that's stalling instead of merely going through the growing pains that others have experienced in the privacy or their rec rooms or half empty bars.
Music Express Issue #76 '84
Canadian Cold Cuts
The first impression on receiving this 4-song EP was "Oh jeez, here's Blue Peter milking a minor hit single (Don't Walk Past) for all it's worth." I mean, not only was the song a focal point of their Falling album but it was also released as a 12-inch single and now, hot on the trail of MTV pushing the video on medium rotation, we have a six-minute dance mix version.
But surprisingly, Version works because it allows us to discover a totally different aspect of Blue Peter, one that doesn't centre around the Ferryesque persona of lead man Paul Humphrey. By instumentalizing the arrangements, the onus is on the rest of the band to carry the tunes and this they do with zestful conviction. Keyboardist Jason Sniderman and guitarist Chris Wardman turn in performances that inject new life into Don't Walk Past and Unchained Heart while Real News is transformed into a hot instrumental piece.
EH ONE & EH TWO - Six thousand listeners jammed a local park to hear Canadian combo Blue Peter perform in a free concert provided by CKSU/London, Ontario. The station sponsored a series of four free shows during the summer.
Jonathan Gross - The Toronto Sun
Joni Mitchell didn't say whether she had popped into the Head Space Saturday night just to put a little money on the Maple Leafs, but her presence lent the warm buzz of celebrity to Blue Peter's album release party.
"No pictures please. I'm trying to keep a low profile," pleaded Mitchell, in town taking advantage of her citizenship to act in a feature film. "I like the band, though!"
Unsolicited endorsements aside, Blue Peter has become a formidable dance band that has matured steadily since their humble beginning two years ago as openers for lame outfits like The Battered Newsmen. Talk about paying your dues!
Like most young rockers singer Paul Humphrey started out borrowing heavily from a favorite for style. In his case it was David Bowie, and Humphrey played the 'thin white youth' role for all it was worth, working on a clever visual contrast of genteel poise against the primitive backdrop of a a semi-competent three chord cover band.
Blue Peter Displays A Wide Range Of Talent
BY MATTHEW FRASER
The Globe and Mail
FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 1984
BLUE PETER'S concert at the Ontario Place Forum last night amply demonstrated that the young Toronto band is one of the best live groups in the country and deserves to be reaching a wider audience outside Canada. The capacity crowd of about 12,000 must have been sufficiently inspiring, though, for the group was in excellent form, both with old songs and a few new and promising tunes.
Blue Peter: Falling In Love Again
by Carmen Mills
Friday October 7, 1983
Since its inception five years ago Blue Peter has worked its way to a familiar place on the Ontario club and concert hall circuit. Their 1981 lp Radio Silence garnered this four-man ensemble extensive national airplay. With the recent addition or Jason Sniderman on keyboards, Blue Peter's sound has been expanded and refined. This month a brand new album, Falling. was released by Ready Records. In an interview this week Sniderman spoke to The Gazette about changing, playing, Falling, and clothing.
THE GAZETTE, Tuesday, Jan. 13,1981
Blue Peter showcases motivated talent
by Brendan Wycks
Blue Peter, that band from Toronto whose talent, if recognized, should promise a future of international renown, was in town last weekend for a three night stint at the Cedar Lounge. From the initial chord of the opening set Saturday night, the dance floor was overflowing.
Lead singer Paul Humphrey's natural aura of confident abandon won over people immediately; the usual routine of waiting for an inebriated introvert to break the ice was dispensed with on this occasion. Humphrey is both visually and vocally comparable to rock's brilliant chameleon, David Bowie. The beginning bars of 'Cloak and Dagger' saw Humphrey twisting, bending & gyrating and thrusting to the pulse of his musical support.
Collectively the band was incredibly tight. The sound was crystal clear and unmarred by any technical foul-ups. It was loud but not offensive.
Blue Peter: Up To You
At last there is a major release from Toronto-based band Blue Peter, and the six·song EP Up To You has been well worth the walt.
Like their previous releases. Up To You was produced by the band's songwriter and guitarist Chris Wardman, with the help of engineer Kevin Doyle. The production, like everything else about the band, has matured a great deal since the last album, Radio Silence.
The songs are more complex musically and the arrangements more sophisticated They no longer rely primarily on guitar, bass and drums alone but have added synthesizers and horns to some songs. This results in greater variety in the sound and mood of the songs: tho smooth. soaring synthesizer accompaniment in "Around You" contrasts sharply with the bright, bouncy horns in the funky title song.
Toronto-based band Blue Peter has just released a new EP entitled Up To You. Last time they played at Ballinger's I talked to Chris Wardman, guitar player and songwriter for the band.
CKMS: Why did you call the EP Up To You?
WARDMAN: We thought that would show that people are responsible for themselves. We were trying to hint at that in a subtle way.
CKMS: Do you think that music can influence or change people?
WARDMAN: Not really. I think if people are barraged by a lot of propaganda that they'll subtly pick it up. So we're just trying to counteract that.
CKMS: So yours is alternative propaganda?
PAUL HUMPHREY: (lead singer) I want to say something about propaganda. They're the type of lyrics that make people shy away from propaganda. and make people perhaps start cutting the strings that make them puppets.
WARDMAN: It's alternative propaganda.
Produced by Englishman Steve Nye, (XTC, JAPAN) , BLUE PETER's second album, FALLING (LR034) marked an important progression for the band, establishing their new line-up, (with keyboardist Jason Sniderman and drummer Owen Tennyson), as a hook heavy power-pop outfit.
At the same time FALLING's hit dance single, Don't Walk Past" and its inventive video, entrenched BLUE PETER's aggressive beat in the clubs. The video also gained the band entry to the important American arena, airing on WARNER AMEX's MTV and charting top 10 at L.A. video hot-spot, REVOLVER.
Chart action at THE AMERICAN RECORRD POOL and breakouts with ROCKPOOL and WARD were further reflections of the video' s impact.
In Canada the video won two important awards: Best Video of 1983 fron the prestigious CANADIAN FIlM AND TELEVISION ASSOCIATION and Most Popular Video at SONY 's VIDEO CULTURE FESTIVAL.
Responding to the demand from clubs, BLUE PETER released VERSION (ER040) , an EP of extended dance versions of the most popular cuts fron FALLING.
The first thing that strikes you about Toronto's Blue Peter is that they're a lot of fun to listen to.
The second thing that hits you is that it all sounds a little familiar - sort of like Roxy Music.
But trailblazers are hard to find in the new music mode, and if dancin's on your mind, this Eastern Canadian fivesome definitely has a persuasive, foot-fidgeting quality.
The group - which plays the Mayfield tonight and the Highway tomorrow through Saturday - casts its shadow with the romantic, lanky figure of singer Paul Humphrey.
Leather cummerbund slashing his billowing shirt and pirate pants, he swashbuckles between the Teddy-Boy look of guitarist Chris Wardman and punkish bass player Rick Joudrey. Blue Peter revolves musically around Humphrey, too.
Catchy melodies, dreamy keyboards
The group's catchy melodies depend on his strong vocals and the dreamy keyboards of Jason Sniderman.
Using a reverb that sometimes gives him the artificially deepened quality of Dion or Fabian, Humphrey is compelling as he powers out the lyrics.
The Windsor Star
Blue Peter performs at Ambassador Auditorium, University of Windsor, Thursday April Sat at 8 p.m.
By Ted Shaw
Star Entertainment Writer
It took five years but the Toronto rock band, Blue Peter, finally "got its foot in the door" of commercial success in 1983.
With the release of a four-song dance record aimed at the nation's feet, Blue Peter started to get wide recognition.
Chris Wardman, a Blue Peter founding member, said the times may have caught up to his group's heavily rhythmic brand of rock and roll. "We're now considered a trendy bond but we've been doing basically the same thing for six years."
The formula for success was last year's hot dance number, Don't Walk Past, and the credit goes to Wardman and Blue Peter for figuring out the formula and using it to advantage.
Blue Peter: All Through The Night (Greatest Hits)
If anything distinctive can be said musically for the year of 1997, it was the year of remembering. For some strange reason the music of the 1980's made a comeback when songs that were hard to find resurfaced in 80s compilations (Choose 80s, Made in the Eighties and Retro Night). Eighties compilations also resurfaced in movie soundtracks: (Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion and Grosse Pointe Blank).
And now Canadian band Blue Peter has stepped forward to release a greatest hits retrospective from 1979-83. A band that was a part of the early stages of the Canadian rock scene, Blue Peter achieved a high level of success like no other at the time. Though Blue Peter broke up in 1983 they are still widely known by 80's nostalgia.
The album is a great selection of tracks that transport the listener to a sound very deeply entrenched in the sounds of the 80's. The one thing that shocked me was how much the music still holds up, as it doesn't sound too dated.
It's nice to see a Canadian band enscribed in retro history.